Friday, April 11, 2008

Union City Schools

Query: How much of the districts contracts represent kickbacks? Which board members have relatives that are school bus drivers?

Millennium Radio News reported exclusively yesterday on an audit of the Union City School District done by KPMG and paid for the State Department of Education.

(1) The audit revealed that school bus drivers in the district are paid six hours of overtime per month just to charge their cell phones. In a written response to the findings in the audit, Union City School District Superintendent Stanley Sanger says of the overtime for charging the cell phones, "This item was part of a Contracted Collective Bargaining Agreement. It is a priority item to be negotiated out of the collective bargaining agreement for September 2008."

(2) The district spent just under $73,000 for cable television spots to advertise the district and $55,000 for a PR company to prepare a monthly superintendent's newsletter. (Can you say kickback?)

(3) Another $50,000 was spent for brochures and posters to promote the superintendent's agenda. (Can you say kickback?)

(4) Another $148,000 was spent on website development. (Can you say kickback?)

(5) One school bus driver in the 04-05 school year earned $61,456 in overtime. Another bus driver in the 05-06 school year earned $51,725 in overtime. Another driver in the 05-06 school year, Got $73,000 in overtime. (Query: How many school bus drivers are related to board members?)

(5) The audit report says $150,000 is paid for an annual lease of the Ronald Dario Swimming Complex, which was used only part-time in year 05-06; and $100,000 for 04-05, again for part-time use. Sanger responds, "Facilities are used for middle and high school swim teams, alternative and special education students, after school and summer programs, which enhances physical wellness for our students."

The Union City School District stands to receive a 16% increase in State aid under Governor Jon Corzine's new school funding formula this year for a total of roughly $150 million. That 16% translates into roughly $20 million extra dollars.